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Archive for May, 2010

Groceries, surgery and a nice policeman!

May 13th, 2010 at 04:42 pm

One of my goals this month was to only go grocery shopping at our local A&P store. Apparently, this was only my goal. DH and DD whipped up a fantastic Mother’s Day dinner for me and the family but it made a huge dent in the grocery budget. They went to THREE stores to get all the ingredients for dinner and spent an extra week’s worth of the grocery budget. I’m not going to consider this a failure. It’ll just be a non-recurring “extra” for the month. Dinner was really good.
So DD is home for the summer and will be transferring from a university in PA to one here in NYC. Farm country just wasn’t her thing. My slush fund has depleted another $800 for her tuition and room/board deposit. I’m hoping I can keep this account funded until the end of the year. September is usually a heavy spending month with all the kids back to school and having to purchase all their books. My two kids in college will be instructed to buy used books whenever possible. Last year my daughter spent $275 for a math book and then dropped the class. We tried to sell it on Amazon and craigslist. The highest price being paid for it was around $25 – what a rip! We were able to sell other books on Amazon and collect close to $200 which made me very happy. The newer/cheaper trend is downloading textbooks but I’m not sure if they are interested in doing that.
SON1 has to have surgery again on his shoulder. The surgeon is not in our medical plan, but thank goodness he has agreed to accept whatever the insurance company is willing to pay. The last operation cost $10K and he accepted $8K. He has to do something a little different this time so I don’t know if it will cost more. Either way, that’s $2K I will not have to spend, although, I would if necessary. Physical therapy co-pays will probably cost close to that much anyway. (Thank you to the NYC officer who did not ticket my husband for an expired inspection sticker, while he was looking for parking so that SON1 could get his MRI – saving us about $50)
Besides the above, additional “extras” this month are a baby shower gift and a graduation dinner. I hope I can keep to it. Wish me luck.

My slush fund is melting away :(

May 5th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

$300 - bathroom building supplies (building shower/toilet in basement).

$200 - rooftop cargo container for car. Going to buy tonight so we can bring DD home from college on Saturday. Otherwise we have to take two cars.

$500 in one day...

I'm still reeling over those DMV bills :<

TAFN

DMV - ARGHHHHH

May 4th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

We just received registration renewals for two of our cars. 2 year renewals for 2 cars is going to cost us around $300. It wouldn't have shocked me as much as it has if they hadn't imposed a new user tax. $60 on one car and $33 on the other. An extra $93 in taxes!!! I'm so fed up with NYS taxes.

Other non recurring expenses: $20 for SON2 for the Yankee game; $80 for a Broadway show in NYC as part of his Metropolitan Day at school.

Another $400 in two days...ugh...no wonder I feel broke.

Fixed, Variable and Non-recurring

May 3rd, 2010 at 07:49 pm

As I go through this process everyday of planning and budgeting I can see so clearly now why having a slush fund is so important. If I didn’t keep money in a separate account for non-recurring items, they would have been put on the credit card without a thought. The fixed and variable expenses were not a problem in the past but the non-recurring is what ran up the cards. I can imagine that it would be hard to build one up if a budget is already tight. I’m lucky that I was able to start this slush account with a couple thousand dollars of our refinancing funds in January. Then I put all our tax refunds in it as well as a bonus check from work. I try to put as much as possible in every month as well after all bills have been paid, but as you can see, some months you just can’t do it when non-recurring items sneak in.

SON1 makes good money at his part time job so I rarely spend any money on him. But in months to come the following will be coming out of the slush fund in honor of his high school graduation:

$250 – Senior Prom Tickets
$160 – Decline his monthly payment for car insurance and phone service which I will add to my budget this month. Just to be a nice mom!
$160 – Fee for orientation at the University he will attend in the fall.
$200 – Dinner for the family at our favorite local restaurant after graduation ceremonies on the 26th.
$1,500 – A college send-off party for him in July. We have a big family and he has a lot of friends.

Total - $2,270.
Ouch!! :O

Dislocation

May 3rd, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I came home from the gym at 6:00 a.m. this morning to find the family in a tizzy. SON1 woke up with his shoulder dislocated. He had shoulder surgery for this problem last year and we thought that was the end of the "pop outs". He was in so much pain that I started feeling sick to my stomach. DH (he is a great dad) was supporting his arm and trying to make him more comfortable. He then constructed a sling out of sheet and supported SON1's arm with a pillow which seemed to help. At one point he looked like he wanted to pass out. He wanted DH to try and pop it in because he wanted to go to school, but then he chickened out. Poor kid was giggling -- you know that kind of laugh when you hit your funny bone -- it hurts but you just gotta laugh.

Why I am writing about this in a "money" blog? Well when we determined that we would have to either call an ambulance, because at first he couldn't move one inch, or take him to the hospital ourselves, he said "well won't that cost too much money?" I told him not to worry because we had insurance and that should be the last thing he should think about. As he matures and makes his own money he now has the "how much will that cost" thought process in his head.

So anyway, we got him downstairs on the couch. DH, SON2 and myself were running around rearranging responsibities for the morning while SON1 was resting and waiting to be taken to the hospital. I called into work and said I would be late. SON2 hurried to get ready for school. I walked the dogs in the pouring rain (DH usually does this in the a.m.). We gave SON1 OJ and toast. We got his shorts on and helped him up to leave to go to the hospital. SON2 is in the car waiting. I ask if there is anything I can do to help and guess what? SON1 says "wait a minute....I think I'm ok now." Huh????? He slowly took his arm out of the sling and raised it above his head. We were stunned. It seems it slowly went back into place while he was leaning back on the couch. Well thank you Lord. SON1 knew the pain he was about to face at the hospital and it was such a blessing that he had averted it.

What a way to start the week.....can only get better now.

90 again

May 2nd, 2010 at 05:06 pm

It's ninety degrees again today but it's also muggy so its worse than yesterday.

DH and I had our breakfast out: $23 w/tip and that's all I've spent the whole weekend. No test drive at Ford as we've been too busy around the house. I'm cooking dinner now, yes because of the weather but also because I'm tired or busy in the late afternoon and just like knowing dinner is finished. SON2 hasn't gotten up yet and didn't require $ this weekend so the American Eagle rewards card is still in my wallet. Will save grocery shopping for tomorrow -- at the A&P.

A thrifty weeked indeed!

I'm Cooking Dinner at 8:00 a.m.

May 1st, 2010 at 12:59 pm

The news this morning said it is going to be 90 degrees today! You know what my first thought was? The beach?--no. Dinner. Why? We no longer have AC downstairs and we were certainly not prepared to have purchased one so soon in the season. Therefore, it will be unbearably hot at 5:00 p.m. in my kitchen. To avoid the quick fix of picking up dinner out, I decided to cook now and then just heat it up later. If I didn't lay out a plan for weekend spending yesterday I probably would not have given it a second thought. This blog makes me feel more accountable for some reason -- more so than just my budget.

There was a time when we rarely ate out. Mainly because to feed a family of 5 would be expensive. But last summer things changed. My boys were out of the house most of the time and my daughter left for college in August. I would come home from work and feel like I didn't have to worry about dinner so much anymore. And when I did cook, I found that no one ate leftovers and food was getting wasted. Maybe I cooked 3 times a week instead of 6. Became a habit quickly. But eating out gets old after awhile and you realize that what you cook at home really is so much healthier and with a little effort tastes better. DH is a great cook so with a little assistance from him I will strive to eat at home much more regularly.